THE CHOICE FOR LIFE

By Terry Carter, Editor

When you were a child, what inspired and powered you each day? Why did you fly out of bed each morning?

Were you:

A) Filled with energy 24 hours a day, always chasing the next game, party or thrilling ride because of the fun? If so, you may have played sports or joined dance, band/orchestra or theater classes as soon as possible.

B) The curious one who liked to read, study, get ahead of homework and evaluate opportunities/situations? If so, you were a strong student and enjoyed learning new hobbies, skills.

C) Did you join the events already organized or started by family and friends and let others show the way? If so, you may also have been the peacemaker in your family. You were the glue for your family.

D) Or did you play leader of the pack as a child with all of your friends trying to keep up with you and the trends you established? If this was your natural strength, you made the bold choices without regret and adjusted strategy to win games, contests and really just control the room.

Nearly all of us have two of these four characteristics as a personal strength, and they work together as a team to make us the person our friends and family loved when we were young. Trouble is, not all of us find a career with our born strengths. We often have to learn new skills like organization, promptness, setting an alarm clock and being nice to co-workers to earn and keep a job.

Still some skills feel like a cage that boxes us in, so we cannot grow to our potential. If you had those characteristics as a child/student, you probably don’t feel tied down by your gifts.

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With your answers in mind, now consider: Are you using that personal strengths in your current life and career that helped you grow into a valuable adult? Odds are that nearly half of you are not using your natural strengths.

About two decades ago, I was recruited to work at a technical support call center in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a significant change from my journalism career and customer service background. I entered the job with a natural strength combo that was fun-loving and ready to lead a team.

Call center work, however, focuses on analysis, deductive reasoning and troubleshooting with great customer service. I could have failed at that position because it didn’t suit my natural strengths. But I was looking for a new opportunity at the time — ALERT: fun-loving people get bored easily, and leaders leave jobs if they are not given growth opportunities — was eager to learn something new.

So I sat at a desk and took incoming calls on computer problems, but my fun-loving side got to play Nerf basketball and video games while solving major hardware/software issues. In retrospect, I can attest that my analytical skills are now among my best skills that I can draw on in any situation. It was semi built-in like my base characteristics because I have always been very good with numbers.

Conclusion: If you are working and using your childhood strengths at full force, congratulations. You probably have good self-esteem and knew your advantages in life before you picked a college and career path.

If you have switched away from your natural strengths, you have two options: Enjoy the journey and learn all you can from this new opportunity.

Or investigate the true strengths in your childhood and reconnect with those super powers. If you were a follower, you can become a leader again without departing a quality employer or partner. Keep your eyes open for a chance to plug-in one of your dormant powers. The world will thank you.

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My advice to 98 percent of adults is to remember your childhood and the happiest times. Whatever you did on those days will still bring you joy today. So do the homework and chase personal happiness over career happiness.

We all know a lot of unhappy coworkers or bosses who never seem to smile or enjoy the moment. That attitude sucks, friend. It hurts that person’s health and the attitude — if not the health — of everyone they come in contact with.

Since you are likely interest in living your best life and not a miserable waste of time, I suggest we all actively pursue happiness at home, when we look in the mirror, when we drive and at work.

Let your smile come out and play. Studies are showing that happy people are more productive, even if they spend extra time playing on the Wii or meditating. And a happy office — hey boss, this is in your hands too — not only works better together, but the employees are more loyal and they go out of their way to help coworkers.

Let the leaders lead. Let the peacemakers lead too because they are not confrontational; it is a sweet change to the Type-A hot head.

Bottom Line: We are all magnificently made with unique and wonderful talents. Don’t hide your glory. Let it shine and share your perspective, wisdom and skills with those around you. This is another way to improve our little blue planet.

 

 

 

 

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WIM HOF: GET FROZEN

Wim Hof is slowly becoming a household name because he defies science and medicine.

If you are not familiar with Wim, you are not alone. Two weeks ago, I had only a surface knowledge of this European wildcat known as a stuntman who can endure tremendous cold. He is a world record holder and best known as “The Iceman.”

Two weeks ago, I listened to Wim speak in Spain at a 3-day conference hosted by Mindvalley, which also included hypnotherapist Marisa Peer and author Vishen Lakhiani to speak. Each made a profound appearance before hundreds of international go-getters in attendance.

For more information on Wim’s life, check YouTube.com. His Ted.com talks and footage of Wim’s climb of Mount Everest in short and barefoot are available if you suspect such achievements are BS. Wim also has run races barefoot above the Artic Circle and come away with no known frostbite. 

Scientists have attached all kinds of equipment to him and determined by Wim does indeed control his body temperature by will. And studies now reveal that Wim’s techniques of breathing and exposure to cold environments — think cold showers, guys — will dramatically improve anyone’s ability to do the same.

Wim has proven that was thought uncontrollable by the conscious mind is now a new universe that Wim Hof controls and explains to the world. 

His secret weapon? Wim mentally adjust his body temperature up to counter the ice and freezing water. Effectively through breathing techiniques, cold showers and regular training in frigid environments, Wim has altered what science long believed cannot be controlled voluntarily — the autonomic nervous system. He regularly states he enjoys ice and needs exposure to it on a regular basis.

More soon…

What to do with Kodak?

Kodak cameras and Polaroids were the coolest camera of their day. The Polaroid mesmerized people by allowing them to take a photo and see the print in less than 30 seconds.

That innovation and many more like these changed the world for the better:

  • First digital camera invented by Kodak engineer Steven Sasson, 1976
  • Introduction of the first OLED displays, 1987
  • 1.4 mega-pixel M1 sensors marketing to journalists, government, 1990
  • Kodak CCD sensors used on Space Shuttle, 2008
  • First Kodak Brownie camera released, 1900
  • Kodak Kodacolor first color print film introduced, 1942

Kodak absolutely dominated the film and chemical fields related to developing and printing images. In 1976, Kodak controlled the market with 90 percent of U.S. photographic film sales and 85 percent of cameras. My how times have changed.

First Fuji Film appeared and created equally impressive films to take away market share for those loving prints, slides and darkroom work.

Then the digital camera revolution altered history, and although Kodak was among the pioneers of digital innovation, Kodak fell behind. Film camera sales hit rock bottom, never to recover. Photographic chemical sales also declined dramatically, taking Kodak down with it.

Last week, the photographic pioneer filed for bankruptcy after leading the imaging industry for more than a century. Should Kodak die off, be sliced up and sold, or simply wander into a dusty sunset, it will be a sad moment for photographers who have depended on this imaging icon.

The Wall Street Journal on Jan. 20 published a story revealing the severity of the bankruptcy, financial decline. Some doubt Kodak can bounce back as the company has not yet established itself near the front of the digital camera pack.

So what is to be done for this icon? Try these options on for size. None have been thoroughly researched, and all are competitive fields. But you make opportunities  where you see hope:

  • The WSJ story suggested Kodak may dive into the wildly-unprofitable printer business, which I would not recommend unless Kodak engineers have a new printing method to once-again revolutionize the imaging industry. While ink sales are tremendous money makers for HP, Epson and the like, the creation of printers at prices under $100 is generally regarded as a lost leader among the retail crowd. This option gets a vote of no confidence in terms of inspiring hope into the Kodak machine.
  • How about a partnership with a huge mobile company like Virgin or Apple to provide higher-quality cameras, imaging sensors than currently in use? Apple and Kodak are both clear innovators and arrived on scene after much innovation and hard work. I see hope here in the mobile field or with tablets.
  • Walk into a retail store today to purchase surge protection for your hardware, and you are likely to walk out with an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS). Trouble is, salespeople are obvious to the fact a UPS rarely is built with more than 1,000 joules of energy dissipation capability. Thus, it’s a pathetic surge protector in name only. A true surge protector sold by Panamax or APC handles what fries computers most often and painfully quick — overwhelming power surges through he electrical lines in every house, office. Kodak has the engineers to create quality surge protectors and line conditioners for upscale sales, and their management team can innovate by adding small security cameras into these everyday necessities.

What are your thoughts on Kodak? Great company in my youth. I used Kodak black-and-white film for 14 years before moving to digital technology for good. Those were some golden years.

May Kodak find its way back to home to the hearts of American photographers.